Cottage cheese is a soft, white cheese curd product that is a nutrient-dense food. It is made by draining the liquid from cottage cheese curd and hastens the cheese production process. Cottage cheese is an excellent source of protein and calcium but is also relatively low in fat and calories compared to other cheeses. This makes it a popular choice for those watching their weight or fat and calorie intake. But how many calories are actually in a typical serving of nonfat cottage cheese? Let’s take a closer look.
Calories in Nonfat Cottage Cheese
When choosing nonfat or fat-free cottage cheese, the calories will be lower than versions made with higher fat milk. On average, one cup (226g) of nonfat cottage cheese contains the following nutritional facts:
- Calories: 163
- Total Fat: 0g
- Saturated Fat: 0g
- Trans Fat: 0g
- Cholesterol: 8mg
- Sodium: 669mg
- Total Carbohydrate: 11g
- Dietary Fiber: 0g
- Sugars: 6g
- Protein: 28g
- Calcium: 138mg
- Iron: 0mg
- Potassium: 351mg
So in a one cup serving of fat free or nonfat cottage cheese, you can expect around 163 calories. This calorie count may vary slightly between brands, but all nonfat cottage cheese will be low in calories compared to other cheese varieties.
Calories Per Ounce of Nonfat Cottage Cheese
To break it down further, there are approximately:
- 2.5 calories per gram of nonfat cottage cheese
- 28 grams of nonfat cottage cheese per ounce
- About 70 calories per ounce of nonfat cottage cheese
So if you are eating cottage cheese by the ounce instead of measuring cups, you can calculate about 70 calories per ounce eaten. A half cup serving would contain around 8 ounces or 560 calories.
Comparing Calories to Regular Cottage Cheese
Nonfat cottage cheese will always be lower in calories than regular full fat cottage cheese. Here’s how they compare:
- Nonfat cottage cheese: 163 calories per cup
- Low-fat 1% cottage cheese: 180 calories per cup
- 2% reduced fat cottage cheese: 220 calories per cup
- Regular 4% cottage cheese: 300 calories per cup
As you can see, the fat content greatly impacts the calorie count. Nonfat cottage cheese may have around 100-140 fewer calories per serving compared to the full fat versions.
Cottage Cheese Calorie Count Factors
There are a few factors that can cause the calorie count per cup of cottage cheese to vary:
- Fat content: Nonfat has the least calories, while regular full fat has the most.
- Curd size: Small vs. large curd can slightly change calorie density.
- Additives: Added flavors, vegetables or other ingredients will alter calories.
- Brand: Nutritional values can vary somewhat by manufacturer.
But the fat content is typically the biggest determining factor for calories and other nutrients.
Calories in Cottage Cheese Versus Other Cheeses
Compared to other more calorie-dense cheeses, cottage cheese is relatively low in calories. Here’s how it stacks up against some other popular cheese choices:
|Calories per Ounce
|Nonfat Cottage Cheese
As you can see, an ounce of cheddar, Swiss or blue cheese contains about 30-50 more calories than an ounce of nonfat cottage cheese. The high protein but low calorie density makes cottage cheese a very popular choice.
Nutrition Advantages of Low Calorie Cottage Cheese
There are many nutrition advantages that come along with the low calorie count in nonfat and low fat cottage cheese options:
- High protein: An excellent source of filling protein with about 28 grams per cup.
- Low fat: Contains virtually no fat when choosing nonfat varieties.
- Low carbs: Only about 3-6 grams of carbs from naturally occurring milk sugars.
- High calcium: A good source of the bone-building mineral calcium.
- Versatile ingredient: Easy to use in both sweet and savory dishes.
Protein is the most important nutrient in cottage cheese. The high protein content promotes satiety and helps to build and maintain muscle mass. The calcium also helps strengthen bones.
These are impressive nutrition benefits from a cheese that contains only about 163 calories per one cup serving. It’s a great food option if you’re watching your calories and fat intake.
Typical Ways to Enjoy Low Calorie Cottage Cheese
There are so many ways you can incorporate nonfat or low-fat cottage cheese into your diet:
- Eat it plain or seasoned with black pepper and other spices
- Top it with fresh or frozen fruit for a sweet treat
- Mix in sliced green onions, tomatoes or other chopped veggies
- Blend it into smoothies for added protein
- Use it as a dip for whole grain crackers or fresh veggies
- Add it to omelets, frittatas or scrambled egg whites
- Mix it into low calorie pancake batter
- Dollop it on top of toast, English muffins or baked potatoes
- Stir it into reduced fat yogurt for a snack
- Spoon it over salads for an extra protein punch
With so many options for use, nonfat cottage cheese can easily be incorporated into all different eating plans. Whether your goal is weight loss, building muscle or just improving general health, cottage cheese is a great low calorie food to include.
Health Benefits of Low Calorie Cottage Cheese
There are numerous health benefits that come along with eating nonfat and low fat cottage cheese:
- Weight loss: The high protein and low calorie content promotes satiety and can aid in fat loss.
- Lean muscle growth: Protein helps build and maintain lean muscle when combined with strength training.
- Heart health: The calcium may help lower blood pressure slightly.
- Bone health: Calcium and phosphorus strengthen bones and prevent osteoporosis.
- Satiety: Keeps you feeling fuller longer compared to less protein-rich foods.
- Diabetes: Helps control blood sugar levels and insulin response.
Research has found that high protein foods like nonfat cottage cheese have clear benefits for weight management, lean mass gains, appetite control and glycemic regulation. All with minimal calories and fat.
Most Nutritious Ways to Eat Cottage Cheese
To get the most nutritional bang for your buck, here are some healthy ways to eat cottage cheese:
- On whole grain toast with sliced tomatoes and avocado
- Blended into a fruit, veggie and protein smoothie
- On top of leafy green salads
- With fresh berries, ground flaxseed and slivered almonds
- As a pasta replacement in lasagna or zoodle dishes
- As a dip with raw vegetables like carrots, celery and bell peppers
- With smoked salmon and capers as an appetizer spread
Pairing cottage cheese with fruits, vegetables, healthy fats and lean proteins helps to maximize the nutritional value. Taking advantage of its versatility in recipes allows you to boost intake of other nutrient dense foods along with it.
Low Calorie Cottage Cheese Supporting Weight Loss
Eating nonfat and low-fat cottage cheese can be an effective part of a weight loss diet. Here’s why it works so well:
- High protein increases satiety and reduces appetite/hunger.
- Calcium has been shown to potentially promote fat loss.
- The low number of calories per serving frees up more calories for other foods.
- Casein protein in cottage cheese digests slowly to keep you fuller longer.
- Diets higher in calcium-rich foods may increase fat breakdown.
Research confirms that high protein diets boost weight loss as well as retention of lean muscle mass. Protein rich foods also help increase satiety between meals.
Nonfat cottage cheese delivers weight loss trifecta – high protein, low fat and low calorie. Add in some fiber rich fruits and vegetables to maximize its slimming power.
Potential Downsides of Eating Lots of Cottage Cheese
While nutritious overall, there are some potential downsides of eating cottage cheese regularly that need to be considered:
- High in sodium, which may increase blood pressure.
- Has low fiber content without added fruits or vegetables.
- Some people find low fat varieties gritty or chalky in texture.
- Contains lactose so those with dairy intolerance may have issues.
- Has high protein content, so eating huge amounts could stress the kidneys.
To prevent any of these issues, keep portion sizes reasonable, choose low sodium brands when possible, always pair it with fiber rich foods and be wary if you are lactose intolerant. Drinking plenty of water also helps minimize any strain on the kidneys.
Here are answers to some frequently asked questions about the calories in cottage cheese:
How many calories are in 4 oz of cottage cheese?
There are about 280 calories in 4 ounces of nonfat cottage cheese.
Is cottage cheese good for losing belly fat?
Yes, cottage cheese can help with losing fat all over due to the high protein and low calorie content. The calcium may have specific impacts on abdominal fat loss too.
What cottage cheese has the lowest calories?
Nonfat and fat free cottage cheese has the lowest calories, with only 80-100 calories in a 1/2 cup serving.
Is cottage cheese good for weight loss?
Cottage cheese is excellent for weight loss due to the high protein, low calories, and potential to boost satiety. As part of a balanced diet, it can accelerate fat loss.
Can I eat cottage cheese before bed?
You can eat cottage cheese before bed as the casein protein digests slowly and provides amino acids to muscles overnight. Have it a few hours before bed though.
The Bottom Line
When looking for a high protein cheese that fits into a calorie controlled diet, it doesn’t get much better than nonfat cottage cheese. With only 163 calories and 28 grams of protein per one cup serving, cottage cheese offers an impressive nutrition profile.
Compared to most other cheeses, it’s very low in fat and calories for the amount of filling protein provided. With benefits for weight loss, muscle growth, appetite regulation and more, cottage cheese is a health and fitness game-changer.
Aim for 1-2 cups per day as a fantastic dairy addition to your diet. Just be mindful of sodium intake and pair it with non-starchy veggies or fruits to maximize the nutrition.
So if you’re an avid cottage cheese eater, you can relax knowing you’ve chosen one of the lowest calorie cheeses around.